Postal Service Wants Its Tubs Back — Now!

OK, I don’t want to make light of a federal crime here so I’ll agree with the Postal Service: You better return that official USPS pen or mail tub that you swiped from the local branch.

Not only is our mail delivery system in disarray, but we (as in taxpayers) apparently spent nearly $50 million last year replacing stolen necessities. Not that taking advantage of the current amnesty period to return those items with no questions asked will bring financial solvency back. Nevertheless, check out more of the details below.

“We are in a financial crisis and simply cannot afford this type of unnecessary expense,” said David Williams, vice president of USPS network operations. “The equipment is federal property, and we want it back.”

The Postal Service is aggressively cutting costs with plans to close thousands of post offices and hundreds of mail-processing facilities. Observers expect that next week it will announce losses of at least $10 billion for fiscal 2011.

It is a federal crime to steal postal equipment, and doing so can lead to up to three years in prison or up to $250,000 in fines.

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service said that with more than 32,000 post offices and more than 200 mail-processing facilities nationwide, the USPS uses thousands of pallets (costing $20 each) to move crates of mail, letter trays ($2.75 each) and translucent mail tubs with “United States Postal Service” emblazoned along the side in black letters ($4 each).

The Postal Service said its amnesty program will run until Nov. 26. Customers can drop off equipment at post offices or mail-processing facilities, and organizations with large amounts of equipment can arrange for a one-time pickup.